Hans Urs Von Balthasar On The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
"I would like one day," Hans Urs von Balthasar wrote in 1952, "to write a book on Ignatius of Loyola, the saint of whom I will always consider myself the least of sons." The Jesuit-formed theologian from Switzerland-widely considered one of the greatest thinkers and spiritual writers of modern times-never got the chance to fulfill this dream.
Instead, Balthasar's whole theology, from Theo-Drama to Dare We Hope "That All Men Be Saved", is imbued with the influence of Saint Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus and author of the Spiritual Exercises, a multi-week retreat guide that has rejuvenated Catholic spirituality since the sixteenth century. Throughout Balthasar's priestly life, he led countless retreatants in the Ignatian Exercises, accompanying them in their discernment of God's call.
This anthology is an aid for those either giving or making an Ignatian retreat. Full of citations and equipped with four indexes, as well as many texts never before translated into English, it sifts Balthasar's writings for insights into almost every element of Ignatius' "libretto", sometimes diving into themes scarcely explored by others. Moreover, it maps out those hidden strains of Jesuit spirituality that run unnoticed through the theologian's oeuvre. Yet the book may help anyone at all who wants to engage more deeply with Jesus or come to grips with Church doctrine, for as Balthasar himself says, the Spiritual Exercises are both a "great school of Christocentric contemplation" and a "genuine interpretation of the deposit of the faith".